It wasn’t supposed to look like this. Grief wasn’t supposed to steal our dreams, our hopes, our future. Death wasn’t supposed to secure such a grip that it created this shocking upheaval on the life we once knew. It was supposed to be different. Life was supposed to look different. 

But that pivotal moment when my son took his last breath and slipped from this world changed the course of life as I knew it. The severed line of before and after had been drawn. 

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It is our gut instinct to fight it. To control or change the outcome. To stop it or fix it or heal it or make it better. And sooner or later, we discover we can’t. That the pieces fall. They scatter. And we are simply helpless . . . to all of it. 

Grief looks like chaos, fear, loneliness, pain. It feels numb, hopeless, dismal. Bereft. Irreparable. Time becomes immeasurable. 

There is only then . . . and now. 

Once the initial shock of death wears off there is a period of time that just sitssuspended. Seemingly waiting. You can’t go back to your old life, but you haven’t found the new normal yet either. 

It was here I found Him. In the after. 

When the world fell silent and I was on my knees. 

My body heaved with the tearing aftermath of a pain that only death leaves. My bones were weary, my mind was heavy laden. My soul was exhausted. And it was in that moment . . . that I laid it all down. 

The full surrender of a broken heart. 

I realize it sounds bold, that these words are powerful and brave and wise.

That surrender takes courage and the decision to intentionally relinquish your control seems risky, almost daring.

“For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

It was in my weakness, I found strength. 

It was in the deep throes of sorrow, I found peace. 

And in the bitter sting of mourning, I found hope. 

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There is deliverance and freedom when the chains of death cannot hold us captive. There is redemption when out of the ashes, beauty risesno longer defeated by the enemy. And there is restoration that happens when, through surrender, joy springs forth, birthed from the depths of despair

There is no antidote to grief. No remedy that silences the wails that strain to break loose. No quick fix or cure-all. But in surrender comes knowing a love that is beyond comprehension.

A love not bound by chance or circumstance. Not confined to wane in death but to prosper in the grace and eternal promise of a resurrection. 

In the after . . . I found a new tomorrow.

It doesn’t look like I imagined. It’s far from the dream I once had. But it is here that I was rescued. And in the stillness of His embrace, I am held. 

Shannon Shpak

Shannon Shpak is a writer and social media manager who is rebuilding life after loss with her 5 children. She believes in hope, perseverance and being strong . . . all legacies her son left behind.